On Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, Friends of the National Zoo and the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute announced the dissolution of their 63-year partnership following the large financial impact of COVID-19 on both organizations. We are transitioning responsibilities, including memberships, to the Zoo now.
At FONZ, we're not dissolving. We’re reinventing. We're actively exploring what the next iteration of our organization will look like. No matter what that will look like, or be called, we will continue our mission to protect endangered wildlife while providing inspiring and educational opportunities.
We're excited to share more with you soon.
What's the future of FONZ? Stay in the know with blog posts from Executive Director Lynn Mento.
A Path Forward
April 2, 2021
It's been an incredibly busy month for the FONZ team. Since we announced the dissolution of our partnership with the Zoo in February, we've been working to transition over some responsibilities, like our membership program, and we're cleaning out our office spaces at the Zoo...
A Humbling Response
February 19, 2021
As I'm sure you've heard by now, FONZ and the Zoo are parting ways. This was an incredibly difficult decision, and this has been a very difficult time for all of us here. But know that our hearts are with you, our amazing members and visitors, guests, event attendees, camp and class families, Snore & Roar...
A Big Decision
February 4, 2021
You may have already seen the news, and if you have, you know that I'm writing this blog post with a heavy heart. FONZ and the Zoo have dissolved our partnership. Beginning this spring, FONZ won't be actively involved at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. This very difficult decision...
For more than six decades, FONZ has worked to save endangered animals while inspiring the next generation of conservationists. Here are some of their stories.
Four Summers at FONZ
April 6, 2021
When he was a teenager, Stephen Jacobs spent some summers volunteering for FONZ. As a as a junior Zoo aide he met one of his best friends; was inspired to learn American Sign Language; and wrote a few FONZ newsletters, which led to a future of freelance...
From Volunteer to Panda Keeper
March 23, 2021
Juan Rodriguez has cared for pandas, clouded leopards, and cheetahs. He's traveled to Africa and Asia. For the past two decades he's been devoted to conservation work. It's been a long journey, but it’s one with a singular starting point: back in the late 1990s, Rodriguez volunteered with FONZ...
Voices of FONZ
March 11, 2021
For more than 60 years, Friends of the National Zoo has been dedicated to protecting endangered wildlife and providing inspiring educational opportunities at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and beyond. As you can imagine, six decades leads to lots of memories! Recently, we asked our supporters for...